In our last post I asked the question, “If someone asked you what is the Bible about in one short sentence, how would you respond?”
My friend Miles Van Pelt, professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, would answer, “Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven; every story, every page from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation!” You can listen to his lecture, The Purpose Driven Bible, about how to explain in 30 seconds the message of the Bible here.
We know the Bible is about Jesus because of what he says to the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus. In Luke 24:27 it says, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
But I believe Van Pelt is also right to say the Bible is also about the Kingdom. The word kingdom occurs 162 times in the New Testament alone. Clearly the Kingdom of God is central to the story of the Gospels.
Every time we read of God as the Great King, of the Lordship of Christ, of divine sovereignty, authority and dominion, of command and obedience, of worship and honor, we are reading the language of the Kingdom.
The idea of the Kingdom is woven into the fabric of both the Old and New Testaments. It consistently points to our sovereign King, Jesus Christ. Biblical scholar Graeme Goldsworthy writes in his essay The Kingdom of God in the Old Testament,
All the Biblical promises find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Every element of the Old Testament’s unfolding revelation of the kingdom leads to the Person of Jesus Christ come in the flesh.
Yes, the Kingdom of God is one of the pivotal themes of the whole Bible and we would agree with Van Pelt, the entire Bible is about Jesus and the Kingdom. But what is the Kingdom of God?
In the most general sense, the Kingdom of God is the rule of the eternal sovereign God over all His creation (Psalm 103:19; Daniel 4:3). Yet in the New Testament, Jesus uses a much narrower definition of the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is the fulfillment of the long-awaited Messianic rule predicted in the Old Testament (Psalm 2), although it has come in an unexpected way. That’s the topic of my next post.
Question: Is thinking about the Kingdom of God a new concept for you? Leave a comment here.